Anyone living in the Caribbean knows that island life comes with a unique set of challenges - banking included. Outside of islands like the USVI, getting your tour business set up with online payment processing can be both frustrating and time consuming.
Much of this is due to practices of the international banking community. In order to reduce potential liabilities after the 2008 financial crash, as well as the release of the Panama Papers, international banks have engaged in "de-risking"; a practice that has led to limiting or ending correspondent relationships with local banks, particularly in the Caribbean. Since then, local Caribbean banks have suffered from increased regulations and decreased access to international money processing.
As a tour operator, the ability to process funds from international guests is essential. Fortunately, when it comes to credit card payment processing for tour opreators in the Caribbean, there are 3 leading options still available.
Using a tour booking system is a simple and effective way to manage bookings and handle online payments. Many of the available booking software options include features that make operations more efficient, such as downloadable PDF reports, automatic e-mail responders, and mobile apps. Fee structures vary from monthly fees to per-booking service fees, with options to add additional services like integrated waivers.
However, most of the current booking systems require the operator to have a bank account in either the United States, Canada, or Europe. For those that have access to a bank account abroad (which requires a social security number in the respective country, as well as other country-dependent requirements), this can be a good option to bypass the Caribbean banking system. However, it is important to keep in mind that taxes may need to be filed abroad - and depending on your Caribbean country's tax laws - on island as well.
International payment processing software such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, or Venmo are secure, widely recognized options with the capability to integrate into your website/e-commerce booking set up and to process payments on the spot via their mobile apps. Some also offer additional services such as billing and invoicing software, in-person terminals to swipe credit cards, team management, and loyalty programs. Fees start at 2.9% + 30¢, and increase depending on the platform.
However, as with booking systems, Caribbean banks cannot connect with international payment processing services, so a foreign bank account would again be necessary for your tour business.
Founder of Junglebee, Michael Rouveure, saw the need for a better solution to payment processing for tour operators in the Caribbean. Building off decades of experience working in the tourism industry, he developed a booking system specifically for the Caribbean, making it possible to schedule tours and process funds and credit card payments with Caribbean bank accounts as easily as in other parts of the world.
Junglebee can process payments from any major credit card through its booking software and transfer the funds to any bank in the Caribbean. Fees start at 4% per credit card transaction, with the option to pass the fees onto the guest.
Using Junglebee is simple. Just create an account, add your tours and/or private charters to the system, place the booking widget in your website, and provide your bank details. From there, guests can book and pay for tours and charters directly from your website, through local agents, or by providing credit card details on the spot.
Payment processing in the Caribbean doesn't have to be a headache. Join the hundreds of Caribbean tour operators already using Junglebee to process payments and book tours with ease.
Head over to our pricing page for details and to get started with a true Caribbean booking system with credit card payments and processing.
Caribbean islands affected by international banking restrictions that Junglebee supports and can help:
Anguilla, St. Martin/Maarten, St. Barts, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, US and British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Jamaica.
(If your island is not in this list, please reach out as we most certainly do support it).